Same-sex union can rock societal values: Centre

Any change in human relationship should come from legislature, not court, Centre says in its affidavit in response to a Supreme Court decision to examine petitions on same-sex marriage

The Centre, in an affidavit in the Supreme Court, has frowned upon same-sex marriage while invoking the “accepted view” that a marriage between a biological man and woman is a “holy union, a sacrament and a sanskar” in India.

“The institution of marriage has a sanctity attached to it and in major parts of the country, it is regarded as a sacrament, a holy union, and a sanskar. In our country, despite statutory recognition of the relationship of marriage between a biological man and a biological woman, marriage necessarily depends upon age-old customs, rituals, practices, cultural ethos and societal values,” said the 56-page affidavit filed on Sunday. Any “deviation” from this “statutorily, religiously and socially” accepted norm in “human relationship” can only happen through the legislature and not the Supreme Court, the government said.

The affidavit came in response to the court’s decision to examine petitions to allow solemnisation of same-sex marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, which provides a civil form of marriage for couples who cannot marry under their personal law.

“Parliament has designed and framed the marriage laws in the country, which are governed by the personal laws and codified laws relatable to customs of various religious communities, to recognise only the union of a man and a woman to be capable of legal sanction, and thereby claim legal and statutory rights and consequences. Any interference with the same would cause a complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws in the country and in accepted societal values,” the government said.

The government said the court had only decriminalised sexual intercourse between same-sex persons in its 2018 judgment in Navtej Singh Johar, and not legitimised this “conduct”.

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